I’m reading through the Bible (not in a year, that stresses me out!) and I just finished the book of Genesis. Before moving on to Exodus, I wanted to take a little bit of time and reflect on what I had just read. Sometimes I forget that the Bible is a book, one big story, and not just a collage of randomness. So I took a little time one evening and imagined someone asking me, over a cup of delicious coffee, about the book I was reading. I just finished the first “chapter” and they ask-What is it about? Who is/are the main characters? What do you think is going to happen next?
I journaled a (messy) response to that question.
Well, the main character is God. He made everything, and has a special place in his heart for humanity (and if we are honest-the humanity we see in this first chapter is pretty unpleasant at times). I’ve learned that he is benevolent and caring and incredibly brilliant. He provides and protects, and somehow even uses evil things that happen miraculously for good. He is merciful and righteous and promises HUGE gifts to some ordinary people. Buuuuut…he is also very serious about right behavior. It’s confusing…sometimes I expect him to respond to evil in a drastic way and he doesn’t. They lie or kill and he doesn’t punish them. Yet other times I expect he’ll let that evil slide (it was just one bite!), and he does not. I haven’t quite got him figured out yet-but hey, it’s only the first chapter, and I’m guessing he is going to be complicated.
When they blatantly disrespect God, and ungratefully ignore his rules by listening to and obeying the Serpent, he responds with punishments for each party involved. Part of the serpents punishment is that one day, one of the woman’s descendants is going to fatally wound him by “striking his head”. So I think that might be a huge plot line in this book-figuring out which descendant is going to defeat the serpent. How is He going to do that? What will it look like? At this point-it could be anything!
Also, God is all-powerful and in control of absolutely everything that happens. But it often times doesn’t feel like it. But then you keep seeing how he is always up to something!
So the other big thing so far is that God makes a deal with this (seemingly nobody) guy named Abraham. Oh that’s another thing-I know God is the main character, but normally you have a few other main characters as well! I often think while reading that some of these different people that are introduced into the story could be a major player-but then they die. And it’s no big deal! Ha! Even Adam-the very first character introduced after God…it’s just like “then he died” and moves on! It’s very different than the other stories I’ve read. Don’t know quite what that means. Anyway, sorry about the tangent. God promises Abraham 4 things:
- A land to live in
- A whole lot of descendants
- That the whole world would be blessed because of someone in his family.
He repeats these promises to him over and over again, and also to his descendants. It’s Abraham, Isaac, and then Jacob (aka: Israel). They, as a whole, end up being known as the “sons of Israel”. At the end of the first chapter (Genesis) it seems to me that all the promises have been fulfilled. Abraham had land, descendants, blessing, and I think the whole world was blessed by his descendant, Joseph-who, after a pretty crummy life, ended up saving all the nations of the world from a famine due to a dream interpretation given to him by God. But it didn’t say that that was the fulfillment of the promise. I feel like it was such a big deal-like they should have/would have said something about it…so maybe that’ wasn’t the fulfillment? Maybe there’s something more? I’m not sure-after all, I’m only at the beginning of the story. We’ll see what the next part of the story holds!